I wonder how much someone would have to pay me to strip down naked and swim in 34-degree water with beluga whales. Maybe $500,000? Can't decide. Russian scientist Natalia Avseenko, 36, is just doing her job when she jumps in the frigid water in the buff to train the belugas. She says the sea mammals respond better when there isn't an artificial barrier between them -- getting nude was the only way.
The near-freezing water is cold enough to kill a regular old human within five minutes, but not Natalia. She's clearly got some superpowers because girl can swim under that water, as cold as ice, for over 10 minutes. Unreal!
It's truly amazing. She credits yoga and mediation for helping her achieve such inhuman feats. She's got a rocking body -- it must be one helluva workout swimming in freezing water. Your body must be working overtime just to stay alive, let alone swim!
Avseenko is part of a team that prepares belugas for captivity. They close off a section of the sea with barriers, essentially making a cage, so that the whales become accustomed to, and trained for, life in an aquarium.
Uh oh. That doesn't sound good. I find zoos and large mammal aquariums to be among the world's most depressing places. Sounds stupid, but during my few trips to the zoo or SeaWorld (while babysitting, natch), I felt an overwhelming sadness when I was there. I don't know how to solve the issue though; zoos and aquariums are excellent educational tools that can teach and inspire people of all ages, and I think it's important that we have places that expand our horizons and our minds. But the poor animals. Anyway, nothing's being solved today, so I'll move on.
While the purpose of Avseenko's job is a little depressing and a lot controversial, I still thinks she deserves mad props for being a bad ass, naked, swims-with-whales female scientist. You go, Natalia.
What do you think?
Photo via HeyRocker/Flickr